How does a Christian approach science in good conscience? After all, when we consider the current dismal state of our scientized world, a disgust for modern science seems the natural response for the New Adam. On the other hand, plenty of scientists in the past have been Christians and have made incredible strides in the understanding of God’s creation. The reconciliation of these two scientific realities lies in an understanding of what it means to do science either as a Christian or as an unbeliever.
The Enlightenment of the 1700’s brought with it a particular infatuation with the god of Reason. According to Enlightenment thought, the road to man’s happiness lay within himself. Man could pull himself up by his own bootstraps and progress by sheer reason into something better. While this type of thinking did precipitate much scientific thinking, its primary effect on the Western world was evil: man was now the maker of his own world by rational thinking and scientific inquiry, unneedful of the prehistoric, naïve belief in a miraculous God. This corrosive thinking has evidently eaten its way through over 300 years to the present day. It has affected our American lives—including how our children are taught in our government schools.
Needless to say, the scientific “progress” of godless science has proven to be anything but progress. Man, in disregarding God’s governing of the cosmos, has devised ways to twist and contort nature, even himself, to his own liking (a liking that is, of course, perverted by sin). He puts nature to the rack, maiming his own body, murdering his children, vaporizing the cities of his fellow men. This kind of science is really sister to the satanic arts, which also attempt to bend nature to the will of man in ungodly ways, albeit with the help of demons. Demons no doubt have a hand in the practice of dark science, too. When left to his own devices without faith in his creator, his end is always death. There is no joy here; no true happiness or wonder!
In contrast to this evil science is true, godly science—an art which is part of man’s tending of the earth, having dominion over it, filling it, and subduing it. God hasn’t given us a world for us to manipulate for our own devices against our neighbor and for our own selfish gain; rather, he has given it to us to enjoy it, to explore it, to wonder at it, and to see in it His constant working for our good.
A Christian scientist will understand that Christ is active, moment to moment, in the cosmos, because “in him all things hold together,” and “in Him we live and move and have our being.” That cannot be stressed enough to our young scientists in school, because the world does not talk like this. Jesus is the one who literally holds the very atoms of our universe together; and when a scientist keeps this in mind, his faith in his gracious, loving, orderly God becomes central to the way he conducts the art of science.
A Christian scientist knows that Christ has redeemed him and his fellow man. Thus, he can know with confidence that the cosmos has been given to him freely for his tending. He can use that gift not only to help and serve his neighbor, but also to bask in simple childlike wonder and inquiry into the vast, incomprehensible beauty of God’s world, which proclaims His glory. And that wonder doesn’t end with this life; through our baptism into Christ, we will have a new heavens and new earth to eternally enjoy and explore in God’s presence. There’s no doubt: science, when done in faith in Christ, is truly a marvelous blessing.